Development of Larvae and Juveniles of the Mutton Snapper (Lutjanus Analis), Lane Snapper (Lutjanus Synagris) and Yellowtail Snapper (Lutjanus Chrysurus)
Ontogeny among species in the family Lutjanidae is known for few species and is very similar among taxa. Development of a laboratory reared series of mutton snapper, Lutjanus analis (2.2-24.3 mm SL), lane snapper, Lutjanus synagris (2.0-12.4 mm SL), and yellowtail snapper, Lutjanus chrysurus (2.1-11.5 mm SL) are described and illustrated. We describe developmental characters that will provide potential diagnostic characters for identification of field collected specimens and for use in systematic studies. Larvae are very similar at early stages. There are some subtle differences in pigmentation within the lutjanids that may enable identification of pre-flexion larvae to the species level. Number of melanophores in the ventral postanal melanophore series and presence/absence and position of a large melanophore provide pigmentation characters that are useful for identification of yolksac and preflexion snapper larvae. Preflexion larvae of L. chrysurus lack a large melanophore in the ventral postanal series. L. analis and L. synagris larvae have an enlarged melanophore in the ventral postanal series (located 0.75 distance from anus to notochord tip with usually 16-17 melanophores total in L. analis and 0.66 distance from anus to notochord tip with usually 19-21 melanophores total in L. synagris). At flexion, the presence of melanophores ventral to the flexure of the notochord and internal melanophore on antero-ventral surface of gut (peritoneum) dorsal to pelvic bone can be used to distinguish L. analis, L. synagris and L. chrysurus. Due to the extreme similarity among small larvae, specific identification of other co-occurring species in the western Atlantic is dependent on description of reared series of these larvae. The resemblance of the larval forms provides further evidence for the synonymization of the genera Lutjanus and Ocyurus.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1997-11-01
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